From the streak in her hair and the gap in her teeth to the wit in her speech and her international feats, Anna provides a charismatic and compelling look into the ever-tumultuous world of a recently uprooted teenage girl. Filled with clever banter, first loves, love pentagons – yep, way more complicated than the triangle – and a Parisian backdrop this novel is as sweet and easy as its bubble gum cover art.
Anna and the French Kiss
Title & Author: Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Fiction
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Series Details: Companion novel
Description: “Anna can’t wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?”
Easy, Breezy, Beautiful…
Our cover girl. Anna, the daughter of a blatant Nicholas Sparks’ channeling parent, wants nothing more than to keep her “ideal” job at the local movie theater to ogle her will-he-wont-he-kiss me boy crush and gab with her best gal pal. Unfortunately the Jack Sparrow loving film fan is “forced” to attend a private and rather privileged high school for Americans in Paris for her senior year. Oui (not w-e-e), it’s true!
What I loved? It was exactly what I expected from a fluffy teen romance novel. An entertaining yet basic band of friends are provided to facilitate the growth and development of our heroine on her journey of love, loss, and discovering that home isn’t really a place but a feeling.
Perkins did a great job of keeping it light and infectious with just the right amount of teen angst, doubt, and sexual tension appropriate for high school seniors. I appreciate that she allowed the relationships to be formed before our eyes instead of providing the insta-soulmate vibe we so commonly see in this genre.
Girl Scouts didn’t teach me what to do with this…
The biggest critiques facing the novel are its subject matter (i.e. whiny white girl complaining about first world problems) and the fact that the protagonist is considered hypocritical and supportive of cheating.
To the first point: yes, you’re right it can appear rather pretentious, but it’s not like the title, cover art, or description are trying to hide that. For goodness sakes it’s called ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS! This is like complaining about lack of healthy alternatives at a McDonald’s. You KNEW what you were getting involved with as soon as you picked up the book. If you want dark and stimulating material pick up a Gillian Flynn novel instead.
To the second point: Anna is a hypocritical teen that supports cheating. Without providing spoilers, this argument stems from the fact that Anna knowingly pursues a relationship with St. Clair, who is already in a committed relationship. To this I say, please consider the age of the characters. They’re in high school. They’re 17 years old. They’re not married with kids and mortgages. I mean c’mon she makes a Girl Scouts reference when faced with how to handle some of her problems with which they didn’t properly prep her. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I support cheating, and of course I wish things had been handled differently in this FICTIONALIZED account, but at the end of the day they’re teens. And we all know there are things we did as teenagers that we wish we could have handled differently.
Ultimately if you’re looking for a quick read that will make you laugh, shake your head at our heroine’s silly behavior, and provide the butterflies of first love then this is the YA book for you!